Keep employees happy creates a more productive, inclusive environment which leads to greater employee buy-in, satisfaction, and time with the company. The reduction in employee turnover through increased employee happiness can save companies a lot more than you think per year.
Forbes published an article about 9 things that make good employees quit, which reminds me of the old adage, “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.”
Out of the top items, all of the things that make an employee quit are within the control of their manager. From being overworked, feeling underappreciated, and not honoring commitments, managers have a lot of control over how an employee enjoys or dislikes their role.
Which got me thinking, what did I love about previous managers? From the list I saw from Forbes, some of my favorite managers did just the opposite.
1. Increased responsibility, not just increased workload.
An increase just in amount of work isn’t necessarily satisfying, but increasing the amount I am trusted to do can make a large difference in my feelings of self efficacy. At first I learned the ropes of a role, and then I was given more responsibility like running our largest event of the year. I loved working on it and worked harder to make sure that it went smoothly because I knew they had trusted me with it.
2. Recognized and rewarded my hard work.
A good manager remembers to thank employees for the time and effort they devote to projects, especially when it goes outside the norm. While at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, I was recognized for my service for the intern program. While it didn’t come directly from my manager, it was still great to be thanked for my involvement.
3. Empathized during hard times.
Not every day is going to go smoothly and sometimes life just likes to throw curve balls. It seems to happen to me during the first or second week of employment.During my first week as an HPE intern, I got tonsillitis and my face “looked like a blowfish.” Thankfully, my boss understood and told me to go home immediately.
4. Upheld their commitments.
Promises and commitments to employees should be upheld by their manager since they lead by example as well as title. One manager of mine was committed to growing our skills on his own time. He helped us identify things we’d like to work on and then gave us the resources to do it. I was interested in improving my photography skills, so I was allowed to take our fancy camera out to sporting events and to try and take some web photos. The interest in our passions, coupled with following through, made him one of my favorite managers.
5. Help you work with great people.
When your manager hires, promotes, and supports great people then everyone wins. When I worked for the University of Florida, I worked with a graduate assistant and a department coordinator. The fact that they both cared about their roles and did their best to hire passionate, outgoing, and amazing people made working there a lot of fun. Even if my role’s scope was more limited, working with great people helped me to grow in more ways I didn’t expect.
6. Helped understand my strengths and grew new passions.
Good managers see what people are good at and see a new application for it. While at UF I loved teaching group fitness (which I still teach). My manager said I should try teaching yoga since I loved learning and it would help me grow my own skills. While I wasn’t key on the idea at first, I have been teaching yoga for several years now and love it. She saw the potential for me to be great at something and then helped me realize my own passion.
7. Gave solicited – and unsolicited- feedback.
With certain managers, it can be hard to gain actionable feedback. Great manager pay attention to the details and your larger fit to give you advice about how to better grow with feedback. I love getting feedback from managers, whether it’s positive or an area of improvement, so I can work on becoming a better employee.
8. Gave me room to make an impact.
Being tied up in rules and processes, or being limited in what you can work on, can make it difficult to build something impressive. I love when managers give me a task to just go figure out. This gives me the opportunity to learn as much as I can and analyze something from different perspectives. This happened more often at HPE when projects were more nebulous.
9. Challenged me to grow.
A great manager will help you understand what they are looking for and challenge you to continue growing. My first managers (the originals) were my parents since I grew up working their retail space for them. I disliked approaching people and I couldn’t figure out what to say when they were in our booth. After years of practice, and tips from the parental units, I improved to the point where approaching random people doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to.
All of my great managers had the same thing in common: they respected and trusted me to get the job done and acted a resource when I needed help. By doing this, they allowed to to experience challenges, learn, and grow.
What have you loved about your managers?
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